Opinion: Healthy Substitutions



Shawn Mercer

Shawn Mercer

Shawn Mercer is a senior integrated life sciences major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

We could all use a little help hacking life in order to make what we do a bit healthier. Here are a few ideas:

Switch to an electric cigarette. For those of you who smoke on a regular basis, this tobacco alternative offers a comparably priced replacement to cigarettes. I have talked with friends who use one, and it is good for people who want to quit smoking or for those who want to enjoy nicotine without the harm of the smoke.

Give yourself permission to go for a walk. For those who don’t move much, a walk is great way to get started. For those who run, walking can help your body recover from months of heavy mileage or can be a permanent substitute for those suffering frequent injury. Walking burns about the same calories per mile, and more of those calories tend to be fat.

Replace everything with cauliflower. Cauliflower can be grated or mashed and used as a substitute for rice, potatoes, pizza crust and the bulk of many a casserole. Cauliflower can be used to make breads, muffins and even in cakes. By removing the empty calories from starch, one can enjoy their favorite treats without overindulging.

Consider going gluten-free. There is a lot of controversy surrounding celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity.

Chiefly, whether or not they are conditions that occur on a spectrum and whether consuming wheat, among a couple other grains, may cause us not to feel as well as we would otherwise. I would recommend reading “Wheat Belly” by William Davis or looking him up on YouTube, as he does a great job explaining the possible perils of wheat. Among them, he cites wheat contains chemicals that cause you to overeat. Overall, it is worth going gluten-free and wheat-free to see if you feel better.

Make berries your treat of choice. Berries contain less sugar, lower calories and more nutrition than their other fruit counterparts. They can find their way into yogurt based smoothies as a healthy breakfast or are delicious by themselves with some freshly made whipped cream.

Sleep enough every night. Although this is not a substitution, it is worth noting most every part of your life will suffer if you do get enough sleep. From mood, to cognitive function, safety while driving, and even weight can all be effected negatively by sleep deprivation. To help get to sleep every night wind down an hour before you plan to go to bed by limiting light exposure and mentally straining activity. Installing a program such as F.lux on your electronic devices will reduce your expose to blue light when the sun is down, which also helps you get to bed.

You can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak, if you simply modify the activities you already do to make them healthier. Break down everything you do, and see if making small changes might make you healthier. I hope these few suggestions will get you started on living your life to the fullest.